Is an object simplistic and lifeless, or does it eclipse another, living entity? This doubt, which sometimes arises within us, destabilizes our basic feeling of safety, was called by Freud "The Uncanny", which occurs when something usually recognized as familiar and comfortable radiates foreignism and even hostility.
The Uncanny Feeling was a source of inspiration and a starting point for my project. I chose a wooden chair; a well known and likeable piece of furniture which gives off homeliness and a warm, welcoming ambience, invites us to feel comfortable and sit freely. It so common and familiar, that it's hard to imagine as having any sort of duality. The presence of the sitter is also found in his absence- the folds of the cloth, the fissure of the pillow, the scratched wood.
The challenge was to create two characters in the chair simultaneously- on one hand, the familiar furniture, and on the other, "the stranger": a hidden, unknown identity, impossible to observe at first sight.
A variation of the known Thonette design, which was almost represented the Industrial Revolution. They were characterized by their minimal material components, round lines, yet delicate, calm, and clean impression. However, at a certain hour of the day, when the room is lit, an inexplicable, monstrous shadow appears; which "overshadows" the feelings the original chair provokes. To achieve this I had to "plan back" and think out of the shadow's silhouette in designing the cutting lines of the seat and backrest. after designing them, I added engravings to the chair in order to camouflage the purpose of the cuts and create a stylistic, innocent-looking context for them.
The extreme contradictions which occur within the chair show the essence of the abstract and elusive term of The Uncanny. My interpretation of this term is represented visually, which allows me to examine closely this very complex feeling.
This design was made as part of my graduation project at Bezalel Acadamy of Arts and Design, with the guidance of Prof. Ido Bruno
Photographs by: Oded Antman